By Jason S. Yadao
Roy Chang -- Aiea Intermediate art teacher, MidWeek cartoonist, Cacy & Kiara and the Curse of the Ki'i author and friend of the blog -- visited San Francisco while on vacation for a few days last week, making me (and no doubt a good number of his Facebook friends) supreeeeemely jealous by posting pictures of his Bay Area adventures. One of the pictures he posted was the one you can see to the right: a From Up On Poppy Hill poster on a light pole in the SoMa district.
Poppy Hill is the newest film from Studio Ghibli to be localized for U.S. audiences, and the first to arrive under the umbrella of GKids Films. Ghibli, of course, is the production house of My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, Spirited Away, The Secret World of Arrietty, Ponyo, Howl's Moving Castle and many, many, many other quality films over the years ... and Tales From Earthsea. The less said about Earthsea, the better. It's worth noting, though, that Poppy Hill is the first time since Earthsea that Goro Miyazaki, son of Ghibli superstar Hayao Miyazaki, has directed a feature film ... and critical buzz has actually been good. (Hayao Miyazaki contributed the screenplay.) The story, set in Yokohama in 1963, follows Umi and Shun, two teens drawn together in their efforts to save a rundown clubhouse at their high school from being demolished ... and eventually drawn closer with the bonds of budding romance.
Here, have a trailer.
Our Bay Area friends have been enjoying Poppy Hill since Friday, but the question was whether the movie would cross the Pacific and make its way to a theater near us. On the same night that Roy posted his picture, I checked GKids' theater listing and was pleased to learn that the film will be screening locally ... Consolidated's Kahala 8 complex in Kahala Mall, to be exact. And it's opening next Friday, April 5.
And that is pretty much all I know about the movie's local release at this point. I've been watching Fandango over the past few days to see if there have been any links to advance ticket sales or showtimes posted; none exist as of yet. (I'd expect movement on this around Tuesday or Wednesday, which is when screenings over the next week usually are added to the database.) Unless there's some special dispensation, I'm also expecting that the version that will be screening will be the English dubbed version, as seen in the trailer above; the subtitled version seems to be appearing only at select film festivals. It's good that the film's even showing up here in the first place, though, so please, no complaining.
Want to learn more about Poppy Hill? Visit fromuponpoppyhill.com.
"Journey of Heroes" graphic novel: If you have yet to pick up this this manga-style book chronicling the achievements of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team/100th Infantry Battalion in World War II -- and you really should get it; author Stacey Hayashi and artist Damon Wong did a great job with it -- it's available for sale at the Bishop Museum gift shop. It's a tie-in with the exhibit "American Heroes: Japanese American WWII Nisei Soldiers and the Congressional Gold Medal," which also looks like it's worth checking out. Over at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii gift shop (2454 S. Beretania St.), you can also get the book ($10 general, $9 JCCH members), some spiffy exclusive "Chibi Wear" aloha shirts for men and women ($75, $67.50 JCCH members) or, for you DIYers, pre-cut yards (36 inches by 44 inches) of any of the three available fabric styles ($20 per yard, $18 JCCH members). Bishop Museum exhibit on display through April 17.
Anime Manga Society at UH-Manoa: Meets every Thursday and Friday in Kuykendall Hall, room 305. Catch Cyborg 009, Kuroko no Basket and Hanasaku Iroha on Thursdays, or Magi, Psycho Pass and Toriko on Fridays. Social time/announcements 4:30 p.m.: screenings 5 to 7 p.m.
Manga character design workshop: Learn the basics of human anatomy and character design (and how to break those rules to develop your own style) from Tara Tamayori, the artist whose two-chapter story "Eternal Blade" is featured in the Hachi Maru Hachi anthology. Workshops will be held at the Honolulu Museum of Art School (1111 Victoria St., room 200) Cost: $15 per session, payable to the instructor at the beginning of each session. Designed for ages 12 and up. Special note: There's already a waiting list for these workshops, so email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the art school at 532-8741 if you're still interested. April 7 and 14, 1 to 4 p.m.
Comic Jam Hawaii: This group of collaborative cartoon artists meets every first and third Sunday of the month at Pearlridge Center; locations within the mall may vary. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/ComicJamHawaii (Facebook login required). Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. April 7.
"How to Draw Manga Faces": If you can't figure out what participants are going to be learning at this workshop at Treehouse (250 Ward Ave., suite 233) presented by MangaBento, you're really reading the wrong blog. Recommended for ages 8 and older; cost is $10, art materials included. Feel free to bring your own, too, if you prefer. And yes, this is the same workshop that was supposed to be held March 9 but canceled due to lack of interest; here's hoping for more interest this time around. Details and a link to register are at treehouse-shop.com/how-to-draw-manga-faces-workshop. 2 to 3 p.m. April 20.